Porsche might have come in for some criticism when it released the first-generation Panamera, but subsequent facelifts and the release of the second-generation model have refined the formula. The (now) very pretty Panamera has been treated to two new models catering to very different tastes: an entry level V6 and a new range-topping, long-wheelbase Executive.
The idea of a four-door Porsche would have been unthinkable a decade ago, just like the idea of a Porsche four-wheel drive was crazy until the Cayenne came along, rescuing the brand from serious financial trouble in the process. Although purists might not like it, cars like the Panamera are huge business at the moment, and that is what funds the development of sportscar staples like the 911 and Boxster.
Just like its German rivals, Porsche is going after backseat business types with the special long-wheelbase Executive Panamera. Extending the wheelbase by a whopping 150 mm (5.9 in) has freed up more legroom for business travelers, who are able to work on the optional 10.1-inch seatback screens and fold-out table. It's not quite as useful as the Volvo Lounge Console when it comes to outright comfort, but the Panamera will seat a front passenger.
Executive trim isn't limited to one particular engine, it can be applied across the whole range, which means chauffeurs can spec anything from a four-wheel drive hybrid to a turbocharged V8 powertrain. We'd run with the V8, because Porsches should still be about performance, even in limousine form.
At the other end of the spectrum, there's a new entry-level turbocharged V6 engine. Even though its 330 hp (246 kW) of power is 20 hp (15 kW) more than the engine it replaces, Porsche says the new engine sips just 7.6 l/100 km (37 mpg) on the combined cycle. It'll be available in regular rear-drive and four-wheel drive configurations, hooked up to an eight-speed double-clutch gearbox.
Both the Panamera Executive and the entry-level model will be on display at the Los Angeles Motor Show, where New Atlas will be on the ground covering all the action.
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